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Top transport plod to probe Tory leaker's arrest

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The country's top transport police officer has been appointed by the Met to investigate the decisions that led to its arrest of Tory front bencher Damian Green last week for leaking Home Office documents to the media.

British Transport Police chief constable and ACPO crime committee chairman Ian Johnston will report interim findings within seven days and deliver a final report within two weeks, acting Met commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said this morning

Green's arrest has prompted fierce criticism from MPs on all sides of the House who view it as a threat to their duty to hold the government to account. Green and Christopher Galley, the 26-year-old civil servant who passed him several immigration documents, have both argued they acted in the public interest.

Home secretary Jacqui Smith has denied any prior knowledge of plans by counter-terror officers to detain Green and raid his home and parliamentary offices.

Stephenson, who wants to take over from Ian Blair as permanent Met commissioner, said: "I am properly concerned about the issues being raised within the continuing debate surrounding the ongoing investigation into the leaking of Government information.

"I have therefore appointed Ian Johnston, Chairman of ACPO crime committee and chief constable of the British Transport Police, to conduct an urgent review of our decisions, actions and handling of the investigation to date and to provide me with an interim report within seven days and a final report within two weeks.

"In the meantime the investigation team will be meeting with the CPS to review progress and consider next steps."

Johnston was assistant commissioner of the Met until 2003. The British Transport Police are controlled by the Department of Transport rather than the Home Office.

Tomorrow the Speaker of the House of Commons will make a statement on last week's swoop following the State Opening of Parliament. ®

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